Post # 1
So I’m terrified of tearing or having to have an episiotomy. I’ve been reading and saw that some recommend doing perineal massage in the weeks leading up to your due date. I think I remember the nurse that led one of the childbirth classes we attended at the hospital saying they would use oils to help stretch you out during labor, as well, to avoid having to be cut.
Is anyone doing/planning/have done perineal massage to try and avoid an episiotomy?
If you have done this with past births, did you end up tearing or having to have an episiotomy? If you didn’t, do you feel the massaging helped?
What did you use for the massage? I see some websites suggest things like vitamin E, personal lubrication, vegetable oil, etc.
What other methods are you trying/have tried (i.e., kegals, birthing ball, etc)?
I appreciate anyone’s reply! :3
Post # 3
We considered it, but never actually did it. I didn’t tear & my MW (1 having delivered 800+ births & the other just around 100) has never had to perform an episiotomy (they really should only accompany forcep/vacuum assisted births & if your provider does them often I’d maybe find a new one. eep)… and in those 800 births has only seen ONE 4th degree tear (most are not severe at all).
My biggest thing to try & prepare for not tearing was telling myself “You’re going to get huuuuuge” and believing/listening to my body. I moved alot in labor & delivered on my side (NOT on my back which close the pelvis, creates obstruction b/c of the pubic bone, & attributes alot to tearing)
Post # 4
I tried it a few times (with personal lube) – it should NOT be called massage. Massage is meant to feel good. This is just stretching one’s hoo-ha and it is not comfortable.
I had a small tear and it honestly was not that bad.
Post # 5
@ZombieBullfrogHoller: during both of my labors, my husband did it for me with very warm olive oil, staggered with packing me with hot moist towels.
My first baby was a 10lb 22inch boy and NOT ONE TEAR & NO EPISIOTOMY!!!! And with Kegels like crazy, my peri area bounced back wonderfully.
With my daughter I had some complications, she was a much smaller baby 7.6oz 18″ long BUT she was born in the bag of waters, my amniotic sac was deformed and very thick, they couldn’t snag it open or cut it without endangering her, so, I didn’t have as much time to push…she just came bounding out bag and all. I had a VERY MILD tear that only require one stitch. Had we had longer to keep massaging and stretching, I don’t think I’d have torn.
As a former L&D nurse, and experienced mother, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND peri massage and softening with this method. I’ve seen women of all shapes and sizes deliver babies of all shapes and sizes and almost 99% of the time these women DO NOT tear or require episiotomies!
also beneficial is the use of an excercise Ball during your mid-late pregnancy. It helps open up your hip carriage, stretches those ligaments, and provides a nice counter-pressure to the peri area to help ripen it. OF COURSE, check with your doctor first, as there are some situations where this is contraindicated, ie; placenta previa or premature cervical dilation.
Post # 6
Omg…to be honest I didn’t really know what a perineal massage consisted of until I just googled it which lead me to watching this video. @iheartnerds: I agree…massage is probably not the best term! lol Just looking at that makes my hoo-haw hurt! Anyways, I wanted to comment because I’m interested to know if anyone else has tried this and it’s helped them to prevent tearing.
Post # 7
I used a water based lubricant, and I did it every day for about a month before my delivery. Guess what- still tore! I had a 2nd degree tear. I’m only 3 weeks out from delivery, so it’s too soon to tell how well it has healed…
Post # 8
I didn’t do perineal massage but my midwife kept pressure on my perineum for the crowning part of the birth and I’m sure that helped. I did tear, but only a little.
Post # 9
Thanks for the great replies, Bees!
@As_You_Wish: And now I have to watch this video. 😛
Post # 10
Do you mean just during labor or for the weeks up to it? I read this which said that it didn’t make a whole lot of difference.
It made some difference for first time mothers and really none for non-first time mothers. I’m a FTM, but decided not to bother. I did read that laboring in water helps some, and I am planning on doing that.
Post # 11
@CuriousOne: Yes, I meant for weeks leading up to, also. Thanks for the links – I’m going to check that out, since I’ve only heard that it helps. I’ve also heard about laboring in water – I’m hoping I’m able to use the birthing tubs they have at the hospital. Fingers crossed! 😡
Post # 12
When we went to our hospital childbirth class, it was recommended that we do this and they suggested some oils to use. They actually sold one of them at the class, though i can’t remember which one. Since we are hoping to do an unmedicated, vaginal birth, I’ve already told DH he’s doing this and he’s on board.
Post # 13
@bwaychick: Come commiserate with me on my third-degree tear thread.
Post # 14
If I recall the evidence correctly, the studies say that tears are reduced by about 10-15% in first time moms and not at all in second time moms (who usually tear less overall anyways). I think it’s worth doing but it’s not a miracle solution. You generally start around 36 weeks and continue from there, although some massage during pushing can help. Warm compresses during pushing also help, but there’s no good evidence that counterpressure during crowning from the doctor/midwife’s hand is beneficial (although most of us do it anyways?)
One thing anecdotally that I’ve noticed….sometimes a woman’s perineum really gets swollen during labour and that does help to contribute to tears because it’s the thinning of the tissue that helps it move out of the way, and so if it’s puffy and swollen it can’t thin out as much. Counterpressure from being emersed in water will definitely help counteract this, as would cool compresses before pushing and staying mobile (to keep circulation from the lower body moving). Sometimes I see women that get epidurals get quite swollen (IV fluids + immobility) but not always so I don’t know if that’s a real correlation. (and even if it was, I think most women would still want the epi even if it increased the possibility of a tear). Just my thoughts, I wouldn’t take it to the bank or anything.
Post # 15
I tried having my husband do it in the last weeks. We juat used ky lubricant and it was a pretty awkward experience all around lol. I had a c section so I never got to see ig it helped, but I know my OB will perform perineal massage during l&d to prevent tearing.
Post # 16
Tearing/episiotomy was my biggest fear with pregnancy. I did PM with DD and there was no tear. Yay!
This baby, due in 6 weeks, is quite large so I am worried. DD was 7lbs 15 oz but I am 10 pounds heavier than now than with DD and its ALL belly/baby. We have been doing the massage once a week for the past month. We will increase the massage as we get closer. We use avocado oil. The burning/discomfort you feel during PM is actually a great thing to experience because it is the same feeling that you will get during labor when it is time to push. My Bradley teacher calls it the “ring of fire.” haha.
In one of Ina May Gaskin’s books she said tearing is attributed to rushing the pushing stage of labor instead of crowning gradually and allowing the body to naturally stretch. Epidurals can increase tearing since the natural feeling to push is somewhat diminished by the drug.
In a little TMI while DH and I were “loving” he started doing PM. I had to stop him and say, “not the time buddy.” hahaha.